Written by: Geoff Tischman
When I was in college I became a live music fanatic and avid taper.
While attending Rutgers in New Jersey, I spent countless nights at the Wetlands and Nightingale’s bar (both now closed) seeing and recording my favorite bands, barely making it back to New Brunswick as the sun came up. My friends and I on a whim would jump in my car and drive to Ithica, New York or Burlington, Vermont to see Blues Traveler. I spent a winter break in California seeing the Spin Doctors and made countless trips across the country for Phish shows with friends.
As I got older I struggled with health issues that caused physical exhaustion and an anxiety disorder that kept me from going out to see live music.
When my wife and I had our daughter we moved to Westchester, and while still very close to NYC, I could never muster the energy or the desire to drag myself to the city for a concert. But when the legendary Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York–where I saw many shows in my youth including my first Phish show in 1990–re-opened for live events in 2012, that all changed.
The venue is just two miles from my house in Rye and I told myself I no longer had any valid excuses for not going to see a show. Not only have I since seen many shows at this amazing venue, I am proud to say I am now one of their house photographers. I have since gotten control of my health issues and having replaced the audio taping with photography, am now going to see more and more concerts and I’m even shooting concerts for another great venue The Fairfield Theatre Co. in Connecticut.
Whether as a house photographer or on assignment for Stereo Embers, I have been fortunate to be able to shoot an array of amazing artists including longtime favorites like Wilco, Gov’t Mule and Gaslight Anthem, living legends Jeff Beck and Steve Winwood and new bands I love who I got to see for the first time such as Charles Bradley, London Souls, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds and countless others.
When I saw St. Paul and the Broken Bones on the Letterman show during his last weeks on air, I was mesmerized and right away they went to the top of my wishlist for bands I had to see live and photograph. When I saw that they were doing a string of east coast shows on their current tour I was too late to get tickets for the two NYC shows but impulsively bought a pair of tickets to see them at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI.
So last Sunday (January 17) for the first time in 20 years I jumped in my car and took a road trip to see a band.
It was only 150 miles away but it still brought back great memories and it was well worth the trip and the Amex points I spent on a hotel room. And to top it off, I got a photo pass to shoot the show!
The show exceeded my expectations by a mile–Paul Janeway’s voice, energy and stage presence are unmatched and the band was amazing. I especially loved Browan Lollar’s guitar solos. The band did several songs off their stellar debut album Half the City, a few new songs and fantastic covers by my two of my all-time favorite artists (and top of my bucket list to photograph): ‘I’ve Been Working” by Van Morrison and “Make it Rain” by Tom Waits. They also paid homage to David Bowie doing “Moonage Daydream” and also did a rousing “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” by the Beatles.
2016 is off to a great start for me musically and I look forward to seeing and shooting countless shows this year but I have to say the St. Paul show is going to be hard to top. This is a band that I will see every time they come to my area and I strongly urge you to do the same if you have the opportunity. I promise, you will thank me!
To learn more, hear some music and to find out when and where they will be playing visit their website.